HC Deb 24 April 1882 vol 268 cc1258-9

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table of the House the Papers showing what steps have been taken to relieve the stagnation of promotion amongst the Officers on the Cadres of Cavalry of the Indian Army, these Officers having been been led to believe, from various official communications addressed to them before, during, and since 1880, that "the question was then under the immediate consideration of Her Majesty's Government; "whether it is a fact that every Officer on these Cadres, after completing twenty years' service, serves pecuniarily at a disadvantage with his juniors of the "General List of Officers of Cavalry," by reason of those Officers being granted substantive promotion, and increased pay, after stipulated periods of service, these advantages being withheld from their seniors in the Cadres; and, whether this supersession in substantive rank, with the loss of the pecuniary advantages attaching thereto, is not a contravention of the guarantee given to the Officers of the Cadres above mentioned, by the "Henley Clause," and in antagonism, with the opinions of the Committees presided over by Lords Hotham and Cranborne, and Sir T. Aitcheson, respectively?


The officers of the Cadres of the Cavalry of the Indian Army continue under the same rules of promotion as they enjoyed under the East India Company. Through slackness of Cadre promotion, they have for the most part fallen behind the Staff Corps and General List officers in attaining the higher grades of substantive rank; yet every one of them had the option, in 1866, of joining the Staff Corps, and thereby placing themselves on an exact equality with the officers of whose more favourable promotion they now complain. That they did not take advantage of this is probably due to their desire to preserve the present advantage of considerably higher unemployed and furlough pay than that drawn by the Staff Corps and General List officers; and, secondly, to their hope that their ordinary Cadre promotion would, as has proved to be the case with the Infantry, prove more favourable to them than the promotion by fixed periods in force with the Staff Corps. As a fact, their promotion has been considerably less favourable than that of the Staff Corps and General List; but they are protected from supersession by the grant of Army—that is, brevet—rank, on the completion of the same periods of qualifying service as the Staff Corps and General List. Their rights and privileges have been strictly maintained, and there has been in no degree a contravention of the Parliamentary guarantee. Still, there is no doubt that the position of the local Cavalry officers, especially in the junior grades, is so depressed that some exceptional and remedial measures are needed. I have, therefore, recently addressed the Government of India on the subject, and have suggested a measure, which will, I believe, prove efficacious. Until I receive their reply, I do not think I could properly lay the incomplete Correspondence before the House; nor would it be right that I should indicate the remedial measures which I had suggested, until the Government of India has had an opportunity of considering and expressing an opinion on it.